Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Close Encounters: Part I

Arsem (heb. slang) - Arabic for pimp; a term used to describe a type of Israeli punk.

Well thats my lazy definition for the often slimy crowd of what I dare call Israeli-punks (not to be confused with the mostly peace-loving type found in 501 Thomas Hunter) often found hanging out around the Ben-Yehuda area in Yerushalayim. I can't really come up with the best way to describe them, you know: jellied hair, multiple piercings, tight european style jeans, often a leather jacket. Know while I don't mean to paint all people who dress in this style as being thugs I am trying to describe a real close encounter with people who fit this physical description and a rather over inflated ego.

Well it was a dark and cold Yerushalmi Motzei Shabbat, I had just spent shabbat in Tzfat with Randy, Altie, Miriam, Newcs and Nedenah and I was headed over to the bus 155 stop near Davidka Square. I bumped into a few of my friends from Yeshiva who were waiting there to catch a return bus back to Yeshiva. As we got on the bus I became aware that before I had arrived at the bus stop a few harsh words, spittle and bottles were exchanged between my friends and some 15-16 year old Arsem (forgive me if im using the term in a grammatically incorrect manner). As I was told my Aussie friend had returned some irritating words with a polite smile, thus warranting a big wad of spittle amongest other things. Being the wimp that he is (just kidding, it took some balls not to slug the kid then and there) he and a few others did nothing.

When we got on the bus things began to heat up once again. The thug came to the front of the bus and once again tried to get my friend to start something. Our thug ended up throwing a few impolite gestures and a bit of a kick, but got nothing in return for his investment, only a blank stare. you may be wondering why yours truly didn't pull this kid by his non-existent payos and force him to apologize to his Yiddisheh brother. Well as it seemed we were out numbered at the time, about 6 of us to 10-15 of them. And of course being involved in a brawl on a city bus may land you a night in the dungeons of Migdal David at best, and at worst in Jerusalem Municipal lockup, with rapists, murders and other such Yeshiva delinquents. At this point a few more mature Israelis (most likely the majority of the citizens of this place ) tried to cool things down, a brave Israeli girl even put herself in front of this thug who kindly kicked her. I'm kind of annoyed that I still did nothing at this point. Of course I was rather shocked that someone would kick a woman, I believe we do treat our woman somewhat better in the States.

Things sort of cooled down for a while, but to be on the safe side I phoned some friends back at Yeshiva to meet us at the bus stop. Just in case our new found Israeli friends decided to escort us back to Yeshiva. I knew that with 10 more guys and a few high school wrestlers we'd easily be able to teach these kids a Daf or two of some real Talmudic teaching.

Sadly the ringleader got off the bus a few stops before his thrashing, leaving us with a few of his sidekicks. As we got off we tried to coax the remaining punks to get off with us and fight like men. Only two of them decided to get off, they couldn't have been more than 15 years old. At this point there was about 15 of us, among us 3 wrestlers and a few body builders, not too shabby to say the least. The gentlemen that we were, we decided not beat the senses out of 2 skinny 15 year olds, instead some of the geniuses amongest us surrounded them and begged them to bring their friends over so that we could duly apologize for our Averos (sins) in a polite manner.

6 more of their friends then proceeded to show up to face off with the westerners in a Shtieg-off. I think it may have to do with the whole "wimpy American complex" that these kids may have been raised with. Anyways, as we (Sorry to say I wasn't exactly at the forefront of any of this, just observing the festivities) were facing off ready for the puck to drop, the Israeli punk decided to pull a knife on us. Well, sometimes I don't blame him being surrounded by 15+ relatively well built Americans. Some of us were quite pissed at the propects of having to fight with weapons to say the least. At this point some of the other punks start pretending to stab at people without having knives in their hands, to say the least that was quite scary. Thankfully, the kid who actually has the knife sticks it in the face of a Maccabi goldmedalist wrestler who proceeds to disarm him Jack Bauer style and the brawl ensued with the knife-wielding maniac getting a second and third Brit Millah. In truth actually he did receive a bit of a whacking due to his previous unkind gestures, but to say the least no ambulance needed to called, nor are his jeans hanging from the light pole on Ha-Oren street. As you can imagine in all its terrific glory we wiped the street with these kids who had the balls to fight without the backing of their beloved sakkin.

Yeah if you haven't noticed I used sephardi "talk" to denote our subsequent surgical operation because these kids did appear to be sephardi to my skilled racially profiling mind. So uh yeah, Ashkis can fight, take that Randy and all the rest of you sephardi seperatists. As you will hear later once our supposed sephardi knife-ists started to run away they came back as rock throwing Palestinians.

After a short brawl we started leading these munchkins home back to their awaiting mothers. Apparently the owner of the knife and the fellow who used the knife were two different people. So the fellow who claimed to own the knife declared he would only go home if his knife was returned (it would be quite amusing if this kid borrowed the knife from his father). Sadly his daddy might not be seeing that knife anymore unless he decides to take his metal detector to the forrest in the valley where the knife was hurled minutes after the takedown. Personally I don't think that Hashavos Avieda (returning lost articles) was a serious issue in our case. I have no idea what that kid was thinking when he opened his mouth, G-d knows what he's been smoking.

As these thugs ran back up the block and we walked back to our yeshiva, they began to try throwing stones at us. A guy in my yeshiva picked up a stone which he proceeded to hurl at them, it bounced once and then hit one of them square in the chest. Another guy remarked quite fittingly, "thats why they don't play baseball in this country". Actually the whole scene was absurdly reminiscent of the hundreds of photos of Palestinian kids and Chayalim. At this point I will simply stop beating the dead horse and cease all sephardi wimp references.

obviously we partied in the dorms that night, the Jack Bauer-like fellow became part of the pantheon of the yeshiva's G-ds, and we all lived happily ever after, well at least until the next Saturday night.... (I will have part II as soon as it happens)

1 Shpeils


Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

So now that we all left Israel and you have fewer distractions, will you be posting more long posts to compensate? :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:54:00 AM  

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